discussing, and reading from, his new novel
The Plot Against Hip Hop
published by Akashic Books
The Plot Against Hip Hop is a noir novel set in the world of hip hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard/security expert D Hunter, suspects there's much more to his death. An old cassette tape, the theft of a manuscript Robinson was working on, and some veiled threats suggest there are larger forces at work.
D Hunter's investigation into his mentor's murder leads into a parallel history of hip hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers, and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hard core fans suspect. This rewrite of hip hop history mixes real-life figures including Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Russell Simmons with characters pulled from the culture's hidden world, as the Illuminati, FBI agents, and West Coast gangstas roam the hard streets D Hunter walks down.
D Hunter is a tough black clad product of crime-ridden Brownsville, Brooklyn, a man whose family has been devastated by violence and who has dedicated himself to protecting people in an age of insecurity. Hunter has his own secrets, his own vulnerabilities, which he fights to overcome as he becomes a reluctant private eye. After reading The Plot Against Hip Hop, you'll never hear the music the same way.
Nelson George is one of the first writers to document hip hop culture and is the author of several award-winning books on the subject, including Hip Hop America and The Death of Rhythm & Blues; he also coauthored (with Simmons) Russell Simmons's autobiography Life and Def. He directed Queen Latifah in the HBO film Life Support, and is an executive producer of VH1's long-running Hip Hop Honors broadcast.
What has been said about Nelson George's work:
"One of our coolest cultural critics has written a mystery page-turner about the underbelly of hip hop, and it's woven with signature whip-smart insights into music. Nelson George's smooth security-guard-turned-detective, a.k.a. D, scours a demimonde as glamorous as Chandler's Los Angeles. This plot has more twists and turns than a pole dancer, and D definitely needs an encore--he's destined to become a classic."
--Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club
"There are few people who can put the past seventy years of urban reality into the perspective of the most recent hip minute like Nelson George. The Plot Against Hip Hop is no exception. Nelson George braids actual facts and fictional characters flawlessly into a time-tunneled walk along various developments in this now-megabusiness called hip hop. For those that say they love hip hop as well as the total legacy it evolved from, it bodes well for them to keep this very close to their head, heart, and attention."
--Chuck D, Public Enemy
"Nelson George is one of my greatest influences as a writer... He inspired me in many ways, and he continues to inspire with The Plot Against Hip Hop."
"The most accomplished black music critic of his generation."
--Washington Post Book World
"Perhaps one of the seven greatest books ever written. It has the realness of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the warmth of The Color Purple, and the page count of Tuesdays with Morrie. It's a must read."
--Chris Rock, on City Kid
"Reads like a hip-hop answer to Nick Hornby's High Fidelity."
--New York Times, on One Woman Short